HTC have slowly and steadily been rising up the ranks to be one of the better mobile phone manufacturers out there. Their latest creation, the HTC Desire X is another mid-range phone aimed at users who might not feel the need to splurge for the flagship One X. The Desire X is a marked improvement from the original HTC Desire (which I used to own), so anyone who’s familiar with the original device will welcome the Desire X with open arms.
Build quality & design
The Desire X has a lovely smooth finish, albeit made of a plastic material to keep the price down. Despite this, it looks and feels quite sleek, and features a removable back cover that hides the SIM card and microSD slot. At the top of the phone you’ll find the headphone jack and a centered power button, while a volume rocker sits on the right side of the device, and the power connector on the left. While overall the build quality is acceptable, the volume rocker did raise a few concerns –it’s attached to the back cover by a very small piece of plastic, and I guarantee that if you’re not careful when snapping the cover back in place, you could potentially snap off the volume control altogether. The back cover itself is a bit cumbersome to remove, as you have to find the very small wedge on the top right of the phone to pry the cover open.
When held, the Desire X feels light and is easy to operate with one hand. The phone features a Super LCD screen that is very responsive and looks brilliant, which I’ll talk more about later. The back of the device features the 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, resting in a shiny metal recess with a bright blue border. There will be a small selection of back covers that you can swap around with the phone, though we only received the white cover with our review unit.
Similar to some of the other HTC phones I’ve reviewed recently, the specifications on the HTC Desire X won’t blow you away, but they aren’t too shabby either. The dual-core 1GHz Snapdragon S4 processor provides plenty of horsepower, so running through apps and swiping through screens for the most part is a lag-free experience.
Benchmarks and Performance
The Desire X passed through most of our benchmarks fairly easily, despite it being classed as a mid-range phone. While some of the more complicated 3D scenes in our tests took a bit of a beating in terms of render quality, overall the phone did quite well. Even with multiple apps running in the background, the phone was able to keep up and almost never displayed any lag or delay in launching apps. You can of course kill off any background apps by tapping the recent apps button on the front of the phone, but I found myself hardly needing to do this very often. Browsing the web was also a pleasant experience, with web sites loading quickly and rendering correctly to fit the screen size.
UI and Apps
In addition to the phone running Android Ice Cream Sandwich, the Desire X also comes with HTC Sense, which is HTC’s own skin that bundles with its phones. When it first came out HTC Sense was a great addition to Android, but over time it got a bit too bloated with widgets and apps. Thankfully HTC got things sorted out and so the Desire X runs a slimmed-down version of Sense UI. You’ll miss out on a few of the fancier Sense effects and elements, but overall the experience is still fairly well done. There’s no word yet on whether an Android Jellybean update will hit this phone in the future, but I personally wouldn’t expect one to arrive.
You’ll also get a host of HTC apps such as the Friend Stream and Music, as well as widgets for social media, weather, and news. There’s also support for Facebook integration as well as Dropbox, which you can configure on the phone so that any photos you take with the onboard camera are automatically uploaded to your Dropbox account.
Screen and Camera
What’s quite impressive about the HTC Desire X is its screen – despite being a mid-range phone, the screen quality is superb and videos look excellent on it. The screen did get a bit hard to see in direct sunlight, but overall was good for reading emails and webpages, and watching the occasional video or YouTube clip.
The camera is 5 megapixels, and while some people may crib about higher-res cameras being available on other phones, I have to come back to the fact that for a mid-range phone, 5 megapixels really is just fine. The camera app is responsive and offers a few features such as lens effects, as well as the shutter burst mode that we’ve seen in other models. Picture quality is acceptable, though some indoor photos seem to carry a lot of noise, which unfortunately can’t be avoided most of the times. Turning the flash on indoors resulted in sharper pictures, but certain hues appeared a bit washed out as a result.
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Sound & Call Quality
The HTC Desire X ships with beats audio, which means that you’ll be treated to a premium listening experience when skipping through some audio tracks. While you just get a pair of standard headphones in the box, they’re enough to experience some really awesome audio quality, so audiophiles will certainly enjoy loading up some tracks on the Desire X. Call quality for the most part was also good, however on speakerphone some of my callers reported an occasional slight echo when I spoke, which I couldn’t figure out how to remedy. But paired with a Bluetooth headset or headphones, I face no problems at all, so it might be an occasional glitch that crops up. The HTC Desire X remained cool to touch during my regular usage, and I was able to get about 6 hours of battery life out of it before needing to plug in my charger. This was with Wi-fi always on, email set to sync every 15 minutes, and social media apps running in the background.
There are many things to like about the HTC Desire X – it’s slim and lightweight, and has a snappy camera and speedy processor. While it’s held back slightly by its storage limitations, it’s an honest salute to the original HTC Desire but revamped for the modern phone enthusiast.